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Stock Market Meltdown!

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Are we being had as we collective reel in this "state of shock"? Where'd all the money go?

We are being played by the politicians. The money went to the greedy players on Wall Street, AIG, Banks, you name it. It's not over, not in a long shot. It will be getting worse. No one in Washington knows how to deal with the situation and the talking heads on Bloomberg and other media outlets don't have a clue. They are just telling the people what we want to hear. The stock market will keep going downward. We haven't seen the last of it. Even though the market went up yesterday due to the unemployment figures, it doesn't mean anything.

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We are being played by the politicians. The money went to the greedy players on Wall Street, AIG, Banks, you name it. It's not over, not in a long shot. It will be getting worse. No one in Washington knows how to deal with the situation and the talking heads on Bloomberg and other media outlets don't have a clue. They are just telling the people what we want to hear. The stock market will keep going downward. We haven't seen the last of it. Even though the market went up yesterday due to the unemployment figures, it doesn't mean anything.

Hi "PennyLane!" The way I see it, all of the criminals here in the U.S. should be even more corrupted than the politicians and ask for bailout plans. This also includes all of the drug lords as well as the drug dealers. And lets not forget the Porn industry as well as the pimps and hookers, they all have feelings too and are entitled to health benefits. ROCK ON!

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  • 3 weeks later...

For the first time since the week of 1/05/2009, the Dow closed up at 8,500.33.

It has yet to recover to the 12, 638.32 level of 6/02/2008 that preceded it's plunge to 6,626.94 on 3/02/2009, though the Dow has risen to the area it was in near 10/06/2008.

It's somewhat reassuring to see the numbers strengthen a little.

8,500.33 up.gif +96.53 +1.15%


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It's only a teaser! I see the stock market going down further especially with Bonds.

It rallied upward today to close at 8,721.44.

Today it finally rose above the level of October 6, 2008, when it made it's steep drop to 8,451.19 from 10,325.38 on September 29, 2008 (Chart).

It rallied into the final minutes of today's trading.

Today's high was 8,760.70.

It will take a few more upward spurts like this one before it recovers to a level near that of June 9, 2008, which was 12,307.35, but at least it showed some strength.

Of course, on November 3, 2008, it surged upward to 8,943.81 and then dropped back down into the sinkhole that has become familiar this year, which it may do again.

8,721.44 up.gif+221.11 +2.60%

Open: 8,501.53 High: 8,760.70 Low: 8,501.29

Previous Close: 8,500.33 Volume: 354,776,311

Eastern Time

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  • 1 month later...


Jonathan Weil: Banks trade TARP for bonuses, debauchery, jets

It's party time again on Wall Street

Jonathan Weil / June 14, 2009, 0:13 IST

Lock up the booze, and hide your wallet. America's most powerful, too-big-to-fail banks are turning in their TARP money. And you know what that means: It's party time again on Wall Street.

Ten US banks gained permission this week to buy back $68 billion of shares they issued to the government under the Troubled Asset Relief Programme (TARP). And thank goodness for that. For eight months, they endured the twin nuisances of mass hysteria and populist scorn for blowing taxpayer money on employee bonuses and junkets. Now they can tell the rest of the country to kiss off. There's nothing Barney Frank can do about it.

Finally, the richest bankers and traders at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase can stop asking what their country can do for them, and start dreaming again about what they can do for themselves with their banks' money. Biking to work is out. Helicopter commutes to the Hamptons will be back in. The opportunities are limitless. They're free at last.

What these masters of the government rescue need now is a shopping list — a 10-step programme to restore their remorseless, reptilian souls and help them rediscover the unique thrill that can come only from being paid millions of dollars to provide services that are of no value to greater mankind.


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Interesting article about Goldman Sachs in Rolling Stone magazine:



The history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled-dry American empire, reads like a Who's Who of Goldman Sachs graduates. By now, most of us know the major players. As George Bush's last Treasury secretary, former Goldman CEO Henry Paulson was the architect of the bailout, a suspiciously self-serving plan to funnel trillions of Your Dollars to a handful of his old friends on Wall Street. Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton's former Treasury secretary, spent 26 years at Goldman before becoming chairman of Citigroup — which in turn got a $300 billion taxpayer bailout from Paulson.
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On the pbs show, -bill moyers journal, on friday night, they had a story on food banks and food places. they had interviewed atleast 6 or 7 folks who worked their whole lives and suddenly found themselves not being able to afford food. they had the statistics and and some of the numbers were up 60% and thats including working families. at the end of the program where -bill moyers gives his editorial piece, he called on wall street to help out the food banks and such, cause now they are scrapping when they used to be running well. very sad to see that.

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oh yeah...


The Orange County Register

HUNTINGTON BEACH – Patrick McFarland, who has lived out of his truck for the last two months, took a break from his job search Saturday to cheer his country at the Huntington Beach Fourth of July parade.Even while homeless, he's thankful and proud to be an American.

"This is nice and God Bless America," said the 49-year-old unemployed cabinet maker. "It's part of being an American. The good, the bad and the ugly. You take it all."

McFarland, who lost his job in Montana this year, wore a red, white and blue cap and snapped photos with a disposable camera.

"I wish things were better" he said. "I thought if I'm going to be homeless, I'd be in Southern California."


But one man, who did not give his name, said he and his family were living in Tent City because they were victims of America's foreclosure crisis. It came down to "feeding my family or keeping the house", he said, "so I got rid of the house".


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Interesting article about Goldman Sachs in Rolling Stone magazine:


Yes, exactly . . . I purchased a copy of RS to read that article, 'The Wall Street Bubble' Mafia.

The RS article (RS1082/1083) about how Goldman Sachs took over Washington DC by engineering every major market manipulation, from tech stocks to high gas prices, since the Great Depression of the 1930's is available to read at the RS web site:


There was also a 3-Page Special Report in the same issue that covered the ever rising empire of TicketMaster.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Time: 25 People To Blame For The Financial Crisis



1. Angelo Mozilo

2. Phil Gramm

3. Alan Greenspan

4. Chris Cox

5. American Consumers

6. Hank Paulson

7. Joe Cassano

8. Ian McCarthy

9. Frank Raines

10. Kathleen Corbet

11. Dick Fuld

12. Marion and Herb Sandler

13. Bill Clinton

14. George W. Bush

15. Stan O'Neal

16. Wen Jiabao

17. David Lereah

18. John Devaney

19. Bernie Madoff

20. Lew Ranieri

21. Burton Jablin

22. Fred Goodwin

23. Sandy Weill

24. David Oddsson

25. Jimmy Cayne

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  • 2 weeks later...

Building to suit no one

You can blame developers and lenders for getting us into this sprawling mess, says Christopher B. Leinberger, director of the Graduate Real Estate Development Program at the University of Michigan and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution.

For decades, most builders focused on the fringes, he says, where land is cheaper, zoning is easier and lenders were more willing to finance projects. Yet, for much of the past decade, surveys have found that this is not what a growing number of Americans want.

Almost 60% of 12,360 Americans surveyed in 2005 said they want to live in walkable communities, close to transportation and a town center with services, shops, churches and other amenities, according to last spring's Journal of the American Planning Association, which echoed similar findings by the National Association of Realtors in 2004.


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  • 2 weeks later...

So you think we're "out of the woods" 'cause of what some Govt. Official may have said about the "economy turning around ".....



From the Washington Post

Sept. 6, 2009


In the go-go years of the U.S. housing boom, virtually anybody could get a few hundred thousand dollars to buy a home, and private lenders flooded the market, aggressively pursuing borrowers no matter their means or financial history.

Now the pendulum has swung to the other extreme. Only one lender of consequence remains: the federal government, which undertook one of its earliest and most dramatic rescues of the financial crisis by seizing control a year ago of the two largest mortgage finance companies in the world, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

While this made it possible for many borrowers to keep getting loans and helped protect the housing market from further damage, the government's newly dominant role -- nearly 90 percent of all new home loans are funded or guaranteed by taxpayers -- has far-reaching consequences for prospective homebuyers and taxpayers.

The government has the power to decide who is qualified for a loan and who is not. As a result, many borrowers among both poor and rich are frozen out of the market.

Nearly one-third of those who obtained home loans during the boom years of 2005 and 2006 couldn't get one today, according to mortgage industry analysts. Many of these borrowers were never really able to afford their homes and should not have gotten loans. But many others could, and borrowers like them are now running into tougher government standards.

At the same time, taxpayers are on the hook for most of the loans that are still being made if they go bad. And they are also on the line for any losses in the massive portfolios of old loans at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which own or back more than $5 trillion in mortgages.

There is growing evidence that many loans being guaranteed by the government have a significant risk of defaulting. Delinquencies are spiking. And the Federal Housing Administration, another source of government support for home loans, is quickly eating through its financial cushion as losses mount.

The outlay has already reached about $1 trillion over the last year and is rising. During that time, the government has pumped more money into the mortgage market than has been spent on Medicare or Social Security or the defense budget, more even than Washington has paid to bail out banks and other struggling companies.

"Absent government intervention, there would be no lending," said Nicolas P. Retsinas, director of Harvard University's center for housing studies.

Government officials generally agree that it would be better for private lenders to resume their traditional role as major providers of finance for home loans. But policymakers now face some tough choices. They must decide how to reduce support for the mortgage market without letting it collapse. And they must decide what kind of support the government should provide in the long run.

"The problem was a long time brewing, and the problems in our mortgage finance system will take a long time to repair," said Michael Barr, the Treasury's assistant secretary for financial institutions.

Government Role

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were chartered by Congress four decades ago to create a marketplace where mortgage lenders could sell the loans they made and use that money to make more loans. The two companies were owned by private shareholders and for a fee guaranteed investors in mortgage loans that they would get paid. After the government seized Fannie and Freddie, it offered them an unlimited line of credit and pledged to inject up to $400 billion to keep them solvent.

But this is not the only form that government involvement in housing finance takes.

The Federal Reserve is purchasing hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgages with the aim of ultimately owning $1.25 trillion worth. This buying spree has flooded the mortgage market with money, forcing down interest rates and assuring lenders they have somewhere to sell their loans. The Treasury Department has a similar, though smaller, program.

The Federal Housing Administration, meantime, is dramatically increasing the amount of home loans in insures. Its share of new mortgages jumped from 1.8 percent in 2006 to 18 percent so far this year, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. It expects to insure about $400 billion this year. Several other agencies, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, also provide mortgage guarantees.

All told, the government now stands behind 86 percent of all new home loans, up from about 30 percent just four years ago, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.

Taxpayers could be hit with a staggering tab even if a small proportion of loans go bad. Fannie and Freddie now own or guarantee more than $5 trillion in home loans. (That equals two-thirds of the debt the U.S. government owes.)

And many could be in trouble. Mortgages owned and backed by the companies often required down payments of no more than 10 percent. With housing prices down sharply, many borrowers are underwater, owing more than their home than its worth, so they cannot sell or refinance to pay off troubled loans.

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They Left Fannie Mae, but We Got the Legal Bills

From the NY Times

September 5, 2009


PRECISELY one year ago, we lucky taxpayers took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants that contributed mightily to the wild and crazy home-loan-boom-turned-bust. In that rescue operation, the Treasury agreed to pony up as much as $200 billion to keep Fannie in the black, coughing up cash whenever its liabilities exceed its assets. According to the company’s most recent quarterly financial statement, the Treasury will, by Sept. 30, have handed over $45 billion to shore up the company’s net worth.

It is still unclear what the ultimate cost of this bailout will be. But thanks to inquiries by Representative Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat, we do know of another, simply outrageous cost. As a result of the Fannie takeover, taxpayers are paying millions of dollars in legal defense bills for three top former executives, including Franklin D. Raines, who left the company in late 2004 under accusations of accounting improprieties. From Sept. 6, 2008, to July 21, these legal payments totaled $6.3 million.

With all the turmoil of the financial crisis, you may have forgotten about the book-cooking that went on at Fannie Mae. Government inquiries found that between 1998 and 2004, senior executives at Fannie manipulated its results to hit earnings targets and generate $115 million in bonus compensation. Fannie had to restate its financial results by $6.3 billion.

Almost two years later, in 2006, Fannie’s regulator concluded an investigation of the accounting with a scathing report. “The conduct of Mr. Raines, chief financial officer J. Timothy Howard, and other members of the inner circle of senior executives at Fannie Mae was inconsistent with the values of responsibility, accountability, and integrity,” it said.

That year, the government sued Mr. Raines, Mr. Howard and Leanne Spencer, Fannie’s former controller, seeking $100 million in fines and $115 million in restitution from bonuses the government contended were not earned. Without admitting wrongdoing, Mr. Raines, Mr. Howard and Ms. Spencer paid $31.4 million in 2008 to settle the litigation.

When these top executives left Fannie, the company was obligated to cover the legal costs associated with shareholder suits brought against them in the wake of the accounting scandal.

Now those costs are ours. Between Sept. 6, 2008, and July 21, we taxpayers spent $2.43 million to defend Mr. Raines, $1.35 million for Mr. Howard, and $2.52 million to defend Ms. Spencer.

“I cannot see the justification of people who led these organizations into insolvency getting a free ride,” Mr. Grayson said. “It goes right to the heart of what people find most disturbing in this situation — the absolute lack of justice.”

Lawyers for the three executives did not returns calls seeking comment.

An additional $16.8 million was paid in the period to cover legal expenses of workers at the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, Fannie’s former regulator. These costs are associated with defending the regulator in litigation against former Fannie executives.

This tally of taxpayer legal costs took several months for Mr. Grayson to extract. On June 4, after Congressional hearings on the current and future status of Fannie and Freddie, he requested the information from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, now their regulator. He got its response on Aug. 26.

A spokeswoman for the agency said it would not comment for this article.

THE lawyers’ billable hours, meanwhile, keep piling up. As the F.H.F.A. explained to Mr. Grayson, the $6.3 million in costs generated by 10 months of legal defense work for Mr. Raines, Mr. Howard and Ms. Spencer includes not a single deposition for any of them. Instead, those bills covered 33 depositions of “other parties” relating to the shareholder suits and requiring the presence of the three executives’ counsel.

One of Mr. Grayson’s questions about these payments remains unanswered — whether placing Fannie Mae into receivership, rather than conservatorship, would have negated the agreement to cover the former executives’ legal costs. Choosing conservatorship allowed Fannie to stabilize and meant that it was going to continue to operate, not wind down immediately.

But, Mr. Grayson pointed out: “If these companies had gone into receivership instead of conservatorship, the trustee in bankruptcy or the receiver would have been free, legally, to reject these contracts that called for indemnification. Raines, Howard and Spencer would have had to pay their own fees.”

While the $6.3 million paid to defend Mr. Raines, Mr. Howard and Ms. Spencer is a pittance compared with other bills coming due in the bailout binge, it is still disturbing for these costs to be covered by those who had nothing to do with the problems and certainly did not benefit from them. The money may be small, but the episode’s message looms large: those who presided over this debacle aren’t being held accountable.

“It is wrong in a very deep sense,” Mr. Grayson said. “The essence of our society is that people who do good things are rewarded and people who do bad things are punished. Where is the punishment for Raines, Howard and Spencer? There is none.”

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^My tax dollars at work. And people wonder why no one trusts big business and/or big government.

Let's see, 1+1=what?

It would help if they did not appear to be in collusion in an apparent effort to bilk the taxpayers yet again and fail to deliver value for the tax dollar that was earned by an actual working person.

It is particularly scandalous that such exhorbitant amounts are paid to undeserving individuals who profit at the expense of others, while tent cities proliferate in the country and working people are evicted from their homes due to the the collapse of the housing market.

America's Most Stressful Cities

Top 5 Most Stressful Cities in America

1. Chicago, Ill.

2. Los Angeles, Calif.

3. New York, N.Y.

4. Cleveland, Ohio

5. Providence, R.I.

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From The Big Picture Website quoting a WSJ article:


Volcker: Make Banks Less Risky

By Barry Ritholtz - September 17th, 2009, 9:15AM

“Extensive participation in the impersonal, transaction-oriented capital market does not seem to me an intrinsic part of commercial banking.”

-Paul Volcker

In his bluntest speech yet on reforming Wall Street former Federal Chair Paul Volcker called on banks to operate with “far less risk.” Banks need to stick to their knitting, taking in deposits and lending money to people who can afford to service that debt. Further, as federally insured institutions, they should not be “making trading bets with their own capital.” Instead, they should be trading on behalf of their clients, not their own prop desks.

You know, more like, well, banks — and less like Hedge Funds.

This is a welcome change from the milquetoast reform proposals coming out of the Obama White House.

The irony of this is that Volcker is chairman of the White House’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. One unfortunately gets the sense his advice has been mostly ignored by the White House. Hence, his support of much stricter regulation than the proposals we have so far seen from the banker’s friendly defenders of the status quo, Tim Geithner and Larry Summers.


“The activities Mr. Volcker criticized have caused banks to incur major losses in recent years. Nonetheless, proprietary trading and related activities appear to be making a comeback as markets have thawed.Mr. Volcker said banks should be banned from “sponsoring and capitalizing” hedge funds and private-equity firms, which are largely unregulated. He also said “particularly strict supervision, with strong capital and collateral requirements, should be directed toward limiting proprietary securities and derivatives trading.”

The activities Mr. Volcker criticized have caused banks to incur major losses in recent years. Nonetheless, proprietary trading and related activities appear to be making a comeback as markets have thawed. He also said collateral and leverage restrictions against the largest nonbank financial institutions “may be needed.”

The comments reflect Mr. Volcker’s long-held view that banks should act more in line with their traditional role and not take extremely risky gambles, which could threaten the viability of commercial banks and expose the Federal Reserve and taxpayers to large risks. Asked after his speech if his comments represent a break with the White House’s proposal, he replied: “Nothing I said today should be a surprise” to the administration.”

Next week, Volcker will appear before Congress, where one hopes he will testify on their inexcusable acquiescence to bank lobbyists, and their inability to reform finance. “Grow a spine, you corrupt, chicken-shit cowards, before the country goes to Hell,” we wish he was overheard to remark.

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California's economy no longer ranks No. 6, but rather is the eighth-largest economy in the world.The state, with about 37 million residents, ranks behind the United States, Japan, Germany, China, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, according to U.S. Commerce Department and World Bank figures. Spain and Canada complete the top 10.


By Hilary Rehder

| 9/16/2009 1:00:00 AM

In its third quarterly report of 2009, the UCLA Anderson Forecast concludes that the worst recession in seven decades likely ended in the current quarter but says the negative impact of the downturn will last well into the next decade. According to the Forecast, the roots of the recession originated in consumer over-indebtedness, and consumer spending, necessary for a robust recovery, will be tempered both by the unwillingness of financial institutions to lend and by consumers' unwillingness to borrow. The Forecast tentatively asserts that California will join the nation in its economic recovery but that the incipient contraction of state and local government will dampen the impact of the national resurgence for at least the near future.

The National Forecast

In a report titled "The Long Goodbye," Anderson Forecast senior economist David Shulman states, "after four quarters of decline, economic growth is resuming. We forecast that real GDP will increase at 2.1% in the current quarter and 2.3% in the fourth quarter. For all of 2010, we forecast quarterly growth to average 2% with noticeable improvement at the end of the year." Sluggish overall growth is predicted, as the unemployment rate will be above 10 percent well into next year. Shulman says that the majority of short-term growth will come from a dramatic reversal in inventories; after plunging at a revised annual rate of $159 billion in the second quarter, real inventories are expected to increase by $12 billion in the fourth quarter of this year. Two other important swing factors will be the recovery in exports and the long-awaited rebound in residential construction. Shulman's cautious view regarding growth rests on the belief that after a two-decade spending spree first rooted in rising stock prices and later in rocketing home prices fueled by easy credit consumers, rather than relying on rising asset prices, will be saving as they did in the past, by a reduction in current consumption. "Credit-impaired lower-income consumers can't spend the way they used to, and wealth-impaired affluent consumers won't," Shulman says.

The California Forecast

In California, there is good news all of it emanating from outside Sacramento. In a report titled "Will California Watch the Take-Off From the Tarmac Once Again?", Anderson Forecast senior economist Jerry Nickelsburg states that in the housing markets, where prices have adjusted to levels that make existing homes more affordable, sales are increasing and conditions are ripe for new residential construction.

In trade and manufacturing, he says, there is new evidence that demand for California-produced goods is increasing. And even in the very weak consumer sector, there are indications that the collapse of hospitality, retail, wholesale and transportation employment may be coming to an end. But the downside is unemployment, which, Nickelsburg says, is "ugly" and will remain so for some time. "More rapid growth than can be expected over the next twelve months would be required to bring the unemployment rate down," he writes, asserting that the still-contracting state and local government sector only compounds the unemployment problems. Overall, the forecast for California remains much as it did in June, the only change being a slightly more optimistic national forecast driven by increased consumer confidence and an increased demand for California-produced goods. But no dramatic events have occurred to change the general nature of the forecast. On an annual basis, employment is forecast to contract -3.7 percent in 2009 and will barely grow, at a 0.2 percent rate, in 2010. The unemployment rate will reach a high of 12.2 percent for the fourth quarter of 2009, Nickelsburg says, and will average 11.6 percent for the year. Though the state economy will be growing by 2011, it will not produce enough jobs to get the unemployment rate below double digits until the end of that year.

The UCLA Anderson Forecast is one of the most widely watched and often-cited economic outlooks for California and the nation and was unique in predicting both the seriousness of the early-1990s downturn in California and the strength of the state's rebound since 1993. More recently, the Anderson Forecast was credited as the first major U.S. economic forecasting group to declare the recession of 2001.

The UCLA Anderson School of Management, established in 1935, is regarded among the leading business schools in the world. UCLA Anderson faculty are renowned for their teaching excellence and research in advancing management thinking. Each year, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,800 students enrolled in M.B.A., fully-employed M.B.A., executive M.B.A., UCLA-NUS Global executive M.B.A., master of financial engineering and doctoral programs, and to more than 2,000 professional managers through executive education programs. Combining highly selective admissions, varied and innovative learning programs, and a worldwide network of 36,000 alumni, UCLA Anderson develops global leaders.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Finally, the market has reached the 10,000 mark again. It has been over a year since September, 2008, which was the last time the Dow closed at above 10,000. smile.gif

10,015.86 up.gif +144.80 +1.47%

Previous Close



284.81 Mil



Week High


Day's High


Week Low


Day's Low



Dow closes above 10,000 for 1st time in a yearBy TIM PARADIS (AP) – 1 hour ago

NEW YORK — When the Dow Jones industrial average first passed 10,000, traders tossed commemorative caps and uncorked champagne. This time around, the feeling was more like relief.

The best-known barometer of the stock market entered five-figure territory again Wednesday, the most visible sign yet that investors believe the economy is clawing its way back from the worst downturn since the Depression.

The milestone caps a stunning 53 percent comeback for the Dow since early March, when stocks were at their lowest levels in more than a decade.

"It's almost like an announcement that the bear market is over," said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. in Boston. "That is an eye-opener — 'Hey, you know what, things must be getting better because the Dow is over 10,000.'"

Cheers went up briefly when the Dow eclipsed the milestone in the early afternoon, during a daylong rally driven by encouraging earnings reports from Intel Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. The average closed at 10,015.86, up 144.80 points.

It was the first time the Dow had touched 10,000 since October 2008, that time on the way down.

"I think there were times when we were in the deep part of the trough there back in the springtime when it felt like we'd never get back to this level," said Bernie McSherry, senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Cuttone & Co.

Ethan Harris, head of North America economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, described it as a "relief rally that the world is not coming to an end."


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